Cocktails For A Crowd

When entertaining at home there’s perhaps no more stressful time than those first few minutes when guests have arrived, but you’ve yet to light the candles, put the roast in the oven, or get dressed. 

To lessen that crunch-time agita, consider setting out a simple but impressive drinks spread that your guests can easily help themselves to while you finish your prep. And with just a little bit of advance planning, you can offer bar-quality cocktails without having to play bartender when there’s so much else to do. 

What we like best about this first recipe, created by Kayleigh Speck, bar manager at The East End, is that you can make it three days in advance. This means you can have your Thanksgiving cocktails done and off your mind on the Tuesday before. 

One batch of this seasonally-spot-on and absolutely delicious recipe makes enough for a welcome cocktail for 8-10 people. It’s a snap to make, and can be easily stored and served in 33oz glass swing-top bottles. We sell this version at Bottles for just $5.99 (plus tax).

So whip up and bottle a batch or two on Tuesday and forget about it until Thursday, just before your guests arrive. All you’ll have to do then is set the bottles out on ice, alongside cocktail glasses and a bowl of orange peels for garnish, then get back to the business of the million last minute bits that will need your attention.
The Apple of My Eye, For A Crowd
8 oz bourbon
8 oz apple brandy
6 oz sweet vermouth
4 oz cointreau
3 oz water (for dilution)
8 – 10 dashes Angostura Bitters
Garnish: orange peel

Makes approximately 32 oz, enough for 8-10 guests

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. This batch can be pre-bottled up to 3 days in advance, sealed in latch top bottles, and refrigerated. Serve chilled, poured into cocktail glasses and garnished with an orange peel.

Equally as impressive – and just as easy – is the tried, true, traditional and totally cool punchbowl presentation. All that the recipe below, also created by Kayleigh, requires is that you 
pour all of the ingredients together in a punchbowl over a big block of ice just before you guests arrive. (And if you forget to prepare your large-format ice the night before, don’t fret: the punch is just as good over individual ice cubes in the punch mugs.)
FINE-Apple Punch, For A Crowd
Makes approximately 32 oz, enough for 8-10 guests
6 oz gin
2 oz cointreau
½ oz Allspice Dram***
6 oz lemon juice
8 oz pineapple juice
10 oz sparkling apple cider (non-alcohol)
Large format ice (formed in a bundt pan, or large cubes)
Garnish: cinnamon stick

 
Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl over large ice cubes or an ice-mold. To serve, ladle into punch glasses and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

***A note on Allspice Dram: this bitter and super sweet rum based liqueur is spiced (with allspice, natch), and is a key component in many of the tiki drinks that Kayleigh and her team make at The East End. It’s also terrific in an Old Fashioned, and several tequila-based cocktails. Given its unique flavor and versatility, It should be on any serious home bar.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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